Advice on eating apples

Last week the Globe & Mail reported on a study by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on the nutritious value of various types of apples. The study (to be published this week) found that the Red Delicious variety is the most nutritious.

eat meThat’s unfortunate for me, as the Red Delicious is far from my favorite type of apple. No matter, Ida Red, Cortlands, and Northern Spys rated well too.

The study did separate evaluations of the skins of the fruit and of the flesh. Some people — like myself — have gotten into the habit of peeling apples before eating them. Although everyone’s Grandma says the most nutrition is in the peel, some studies show that the skins are also where pesticides and growth chemicals are concentrated. There’s also the matter of all that wax.

However, I am reconsidering. Indeed, most of the antioxidant value of an apple lies in the skin (and that’s where the Red Delicious ranks highest). I should have known that, as there has been plenty of talk in the past few years about phytochemicals in foods — including the theory that the more colorful a fruit or vegetable is, the more phytochemicals it contains and thus the better it is for you.

So stop peeling those apples. And eat more of them. Below are the best apples for you, first ranked by skin nutrition, then by flesh nutrition. The numbers are FRAP units of antioxidant activity (FRAP is a commonly used measure of antioxidant activity):

too green!THE APPLE SKIN TOP 8
Red Delicious; 17,851
Ida Red; 12,083
Cortland; 11,908
Northern Spy; 10,044
Golden Delicious; 9,616
Mutsu; 6,820
McIntosh; 6.436
Empire; 2,736

THE APPLE FLESH TOP 8
Northern Spy; 6,425
Cortland; 3,660
Red Delicious; 3,215
MacIntosh; 2,785
Ida Red; 2,749
Golden Delicious; 2,036
Mutsu; 1,584
Empire; 550

8 thoughts on “Advice on eating apples

  1. I saw the same article. Fortunately, Delicious are my favourites. I was quite surprised to see how big a proportion of the anti-oxydants were in the skin. I’ve always eaten them with the skins on – even make applesause with the skins. But you’ve reminded me… I need to do a better job of washing them before I use ’em. Probably applies to all my f&v’s.

    P.

  2. Dr. Joe Schwarcz made a comment on his Radio Show, Sunday 3-4PM. on Montreal’s CJAD 800 that the article doesn’t go on to indicate that there are many types of antioxidents and that no one fruit or veggie regardless of variety/color contains all of them. While the Red Delicious may have the highest overall amount, a mix is preferable for full coverage. That said eating only Red Delicious apples is certainly better than not eating any apples at all. I tried one called a Pink Lady last week and it kept the Doctor away the whole day.

  3. Nary a mention of the tart and crunchy Granny Smith? I have always found that one the best for straight eating, caramel-dunking, and baking.

  4. Eating organic apples would get rid of any pesticide problem! In addition, they contain more vitamins and they taste better. Just try smelling them.

  5. Quietude

    No, I’m not ignoring you. There just wasn’t a lot of cooking getting done around here this past weekend, and yesterday was Errand Day. Here’s a couple of links to keep the front page going until I have something to…

  6. Thanks for the tip, Anja. Unfortunately, organic produce is still not widely available around here, and when you find it, it tends to be old, unfresh, and two or three times more expensive than the regular stuff (which is why it is old and unfresh — hardly anybody buys it).

    I’m hoping that will change.

  7. Wonder how Gala apples fare… I find them tasty! Anyone else?

  8. Quietude

    No, I’m not ignoring you. There just wasn’t a lot of cooking getting done around here this past weekend, and yesterday was Errand Day. Here’s a couple of links to keep the front page going until I have something to…

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